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UK News Desk

'Passionate and brilliant' surgeon is found dead in bath at his home

‘Passionate and brilliant’ surgeon, 36, who dedicated career to finding a cure for pancreatic cancer is found dead in bath at his home after heartbreak of breaking up with partner of 18 years

  • 36-year-old Dr James Nicholson had worked at the Royal Liverpool Hospital 
  • He was found dead in his home after separating with his long term partner 
  • His grieving mother has said that the world is a ‘darker place’ without him 

Dr James Nicholson (pictured above) was upset after breaking up with his partner

Dr James Nicholson (pictured above) was upset after breaking up with his partner

A ‘passionate and brilliant’ surgeon who dedicated his career to finding a cure for pancreatic cancer was found dead in the bath at his home after separating from his partner of 18 years.

Dr James Nicholson was upset after breaking up with his partner after she had moved to China to take up a teaching post.  

A suicide not was found at his home. 

Colleagues and former patients of the 36-year-old said he was an ‘amazing’ doctor and that they were heartbroken for his family.

James had worked at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and had originally joined as a general surgical trainee.

His grieving mother Pam has said that the world is now a ‘darker place’ without him.

Paying tribute to her son, who was originally from Stockton-on-Tees, Pam told the inquest: ‘He lit up a room when he walked into it.

‘He was loved by everybody he met – 450 people attended his funeral, including friends and family who travelled from as far away as Dubai.

‘He was also a fantastic doctor and surgeon. The world is a darker place without him.’

Area coroner Anita Bhardwaj recorded a verdict of suicide. During the inquest she heard that Dr Nicholson had been upset after breaking up with his partner of 18 years, who had moved abroad to take up a teaching post in China.

Shortly before his death, Dr Nicholson had been on a trip to the United States, but on his return to the UK had made several calls to a friend, in which he had talked about people taking their own lives and how they had been found.

Peter Williams, medical director at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘James Nicholson was a much loved colleague at the Royal.

‘He dedicated his short but brilliant research career toward finding a cure for pancreatic cancer.

‘James joined the Royal as a general surgical trainee. He is greatly missed by all he worked with and his patients. Our thoughts and condolences continue to be with his family and friends at this difficult time.’

Dr James Nicholson (pictured above), a surgeon at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, was found dead at his home in October 2018

Dr James Nicholson (pictured above), a surgeon at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, was found dead at his home in October 2018

The charity Pancreatic Cancer UK also paid tribute to Dr Nicholson, saying: ‘James was a gifted surgeon who dedicated his short but exceptional research career to the fight against pancreatic cancer.

‘James loved his work and he loved his patients and their families. He will be sorely missed by all of us that he left behind.’

One of his former patients, Carla Whittaker, said on Facebook: ‘So sad & awful. I saw him a few times -me as the patient and he was probably one of the best, most understanding /compassionate drs i had ever come across with a great sense of humour!

The Royal Liverpool University Hospital (pictured above) where Dr James Nicholson worked

The Royal Liverpool University Hospital (pictured above) where Dr James Nicholson worked

‘Thinking of all his friends, family & colleagues xx’

Sylvia Bartsch said: ‘So sad that this poor man could not see beyond his problems and realise how important he was to every human being that uses our health service. Rip sir. My heartfelt condolences to all his family, friends & colleagues.’

Clare Bear said: ‘Such a devastating loss to the Royal Liverpool Hospital, the fight against pancreatic cancer and to the medical profession as a whole. I got to see his passion and brilliance in the operating theatre as a student and was awe inspired.

‘Yes he lit up the room when he walked in it’s true. Deepest sympathy to all his family he will be fondly remembered by his colleagues.’

Jamie Mulherine wrote: ‘James was such a wonderful person, with an incredible talent for saving lives, and that’s how he will be remembered.

‘Everyone just adored him when they met him. To say we are poorer for his loss is an understatement.’

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article then you can call the Samaritans on 116 123, alternatively you can visit the website at by clicking here.  

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News | Mail Online

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